The federal government may claim the features its added to money in recent years make it nearly counterfeit-proof, but crime reports show otherwise. Sure, paper money now includes color-shifting numbers and portrait watermarks, but counterfeiters are getting how-to guides on how to print the fake stuff straight from the Web.
Ironically, many of the “printers” are using basic household items such as glue, soap and office printers to mint their own money. One alleged counterfeiter, known as “The Printer,” was arrested by authorities in Georgia with five other men in November. They purportedly printed more than $1 million in counterfeit bills using office printers and glue before their arrests. Meanwhile, police apprehended a Rhode Island man who allegedly used a chemical soap to wash the ink off of $5 bills, replacing it with $100 printing. The suspect learned his craft from an Internet how-to guide.
“It’s easier today because the technology has gotten so good and people can make better fakes,” former FBI agent and ABC News consultant Brad Garrett said “It’s easier and it’s faster today because of copiers and the sophistication of different inking systems.”
The simplicity of the methods used by “The Printer” is almost unbelievable. He and his team ran paper through a printer to tint it yellow, according to the New York Times. Then he printed the front of a bill on one sheet and the back side on another page. He flipped the second page over and printed a watermark on the back. To create the security threads embedded on all paper money he used pens with colored ink that would appear under ultraviolet lamps. Then—here’s the kicker—he glued the two sheets of paper together to create a counterfeit bill.
And the guy who washed off the $5 and replaced it with $100? He didn’t get caught by any high-tech scans or lights, but instead by a clerk who noticed the $100 bill had a picture of Abe Lincoln where Ben Franklin should be. Guess he wasn’t as smart as he thought he was!
[Image via Shutterstock]